While I think that JB does recruit some highly-ranked players (5 and high 4-stars), he does seem to have trouble closing the deal with the stars that he does pursue. Some possible (non-mutually-exclusive) reasons for this:
(1) He doesn’t cast a wide enough net among top players, meaning the chance of landing at least one in any given cycle are low;
(2) Such players are not his priority, so he doesn’t pursue them as vigorously as other coaches do;
(3) He doesn’t push hard for guys once a blue blood gets involved in their recruitment;
(4) He seems to actively avoid guys whose size and athletic upside makes them likely early NBA departures (related to reason 1);
(5) He won’t indulge players’ egos with respect to assurances re playing time/role or flexibility re visits etc;
(6) Other reasons(?)
Some of these may be quite legitimately defensible but taken together they make it really hard to stay competitive.
Anyway none of this is to say that I don’t like (most of) the incoming recruits or that i don’t feel pretty good about the current roster. Just that I sometimes wonder how much better the team’s ceiling would be if they landed a few of their first-choice guys instead. To use a non-controversial example (i.e. not Josh Jackson), how much better would everybody feel if we had Langford or Huerter coming next year?